September 20, 2015

25th Sun., Ordinary Time

September 20, 2015:  Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

See nine connections with today?
Legend below


This is the 80th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Holy See.  Today we renew those bonds of cooperation and friendship, so the Church can support and encourage the Cuban people in its hopes and concerns and bring the proclamation of the Kingdom to the peripheries.
A hundred years ago Pope Benedict XV declared Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre as Cuba's Patroness.  War of Independence veterans wanted the Virgen mambisa to be the patroness of Cuba as a free, sovereign nation.  She has sustained hope and championed human dignity.  Growing devotion to her testifies to her presence.  I pray to our Mother for all her Cuban children and for this nation, that it may travel the paths of justice, peace, liberty, and reconciliation.
Cuba is an archipelago facing all directions, valuable as a “key” between north, south, east, west, called to be a point of encounter for all to join in friendship.  “May Cuba... open itself to the world, and may the world open itself to Cuba” (St. John Paul II).
Normalizition of US/Cuba relations is a sign of the victory of encounter and dialogue.   Persevere on and develop this path to promote peace of all America and reconciliation for the world.  May Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre, Bl. Olallo Valdés, Bl. José López Pietreira, and Venerable Félix Varela strengthen our bonds of peace, solidarity, and respect.
  • Wis 2:12, 17-20  The wicked:  Let us beset the just one, because he's obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions, and charges us with violations of our training.  Let's see whether his words be true; let's find out what will happen to him.  If he's the son of God, God will defend and deliver him.  Let's put him to the test and try his patience to have proof of his gentleness.  Let's condemn him to a shameful death; according to his words, God will take care of him.
  • Ps 54:3-6, 8  "The Lord upholds my life."  O God, hear, save, and defend me.  The haughty and ruthless have risen up against me, and seek my life.  God my helper and sustainer, I offer you sacrifice; and praise you.
  • Jas 3:16—4:3  Where there's jealousy and ambition, there's disorder and foul practice.  True wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and full of mercy and good fruits.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.  Wars and conflicts among you come from your passions:  you covet and envy but don't have and can't get; you fight.  You don't possess because you don't ask.  You ask but don't receive  because you ask wrongly, to spend on your passions.
  • Mk 9:30-37  Jesus to disciples:  “The Son of Man is to be handed over, be killedand rise three days later.”  They didn't understand but were afraid to question him.  Inside he asked what they were arguing about, but they remained silent because they were discussing who was the greatest.  He told them, “If you wish to be first, be the last of all and servant of all.”  He placed a child it in the their midst and told them, “Whoever receives a child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me receives the One who sent me.”
    • Today is Catechetical Sunday; its theme, "Safeguarding the dignity of every human person," is a central Christian theme the Pope Francis often promotes, even in today's opening remarks in Cuba.  Please check out the resources on the USCCB site, thank God for everyone who helps with religious education, and rededicate yourself to the mission of sharing God's word.
    • Creighton:  "The Focus of Our Love":  In the silence that follows Jesus' question, we cringe with the disciples who had been discussing who was the greatest.   James calls this “selfish ambition,” breeding disorder and foul practice.  Self-absorption is in opposition to focusing on God.  Eastern Christian spirituality calls philautia (love of self) the “queen of vices.”  Pope Francis cautioned all who work in and for the Church against “spiritual worldliness,”  seeking human glory and well-being over the Lord’s glory, saying it can take on many forms, but we can avoid it by making the Church constantly go out from herself, keeping her mission focused on Christ, and her commitment to the poor.  Is my love focused on self or on Jesus and those he loves?
      103 Korean martyrs/ Hak Jin Moon
    • One Bread One Body:  "Making and being the sign of the cross":  On our own we don't understand the cross and are afraid of it.  Our guilt after Jesus asks "What were you discussing?" can be the beginning of repentance, restored communication with Jesus, and acceptance of the way of the cross.  Look at a crucifix a minute a day for nine days, receive the grace to speak/boast of the cross, and find joy carrying the crosses of persecution, forgiving, doing penance, sacrifice, service, loving enemies, choosing poverty, making commitments....
    • Passionist:  When we don't understand or like what we hear, we can distract ourselves with something less important like the disciples did, but Jesus calls them back:  being first means serving others.  Jesus is our best example of giving oneself for others.
    •  There's no share in God's glory without the cross.  Jesus' prophesy of his betrayal and crucifixion made no sense to his disciples, but they were afraid to ask questions.  How often do we reject what we don't want to see?  We've heard the good news, but do we mold our lives according to it? 
    We can compare ourselves with each other like the disciples did, desiring admiration.  Children in the ancient world were at the bottom rung:  no rights, position, or privileges; but Jesus put one in a position of honor to show that the humble are the greatest.  Jesus is our model. He came to serve, took the form of a servant, and emptied himself. Jesus lowered himself; he took our nature to raise us up to his.  To be filled with God's life and power, we need to empty ourselves of whatever stands in the way.  God wants empty vessels to fill with his glory, power, and love....
    • 10K trumped saints, from Universalis:  SS. Andrew Kim Taegǒn, Paul Chong Hasang, and companions, martyrs:  For centuries, Korea was closed to outside influences.  Laypeople seeking to find out about the outside world through the annual embassy to Peking found books about Christianity and were converted.  Over the next century, while the Korean church was entirely lay, over ten thousand Korean Christians were martyred; then priests came and were martyred too.  Today 103 of the Korean martyrs are specifically celebrated:  lay, married or not, old and young, even children.  “The Korean Church was founded entirely by laypeople. It withstood waves of fierce persecution. The death of its many martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today’s splendid flowering of the Church in Korea.” – John Paul II at the canonization of the Korean Martyrs
    Dress legend
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  "If the just one be the son of God, God will deliver him from the hand of his foes." (1st reading); "The Son of Man will be handed over to men" (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  The ruthless don't set God before their eyes (psalm)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  Wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, merciful... (2nd reading)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace... (2nd reading)
    • 'Children' tie:  “Whoever receives a child like this in my name, receives me... and the One who sent me.” (gospel)
    • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  Korean martyrs [Though the Ordinary Time Sunday celebration normally trumps their memorial, I'm playing for a Mass in honor of the martyrs this afternoon.]
    • Green in suspenders and tie:  Ordinary Time season

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